Faculty of Art Textile Course

Textile Course

Dyeing and weaving create the future through 1,000 years of technique

Textiles built up by hand, piece by piece: Spinning thread, weaving cloth and then dyeing with colors. With patient and diligent labor, finished work may transform the surrounding space. This is the power of textiles.

SEIKA’s Textiles Course aspires to create new artworks utilizing these kinds of textile techniques. A single sheet of textile dyed with vibrant tones will dominate the mood of a space. A three-dimensional artwork resembling a creature made from wool felt mellows the atmosphere. The texture of a many-colored weaving brings out the charms of the patterns. All kinds of creative expressive are possible with textiles when you combine color, materials and motifs. And amongst the techniques that can create this are ones that have continued to do so from 1,000 years ago up until the present.

Kyoto in particular has a culture with unique traditional textiles such as Yuzen and Nishijinori. The Textiles Course places emphasis on conservation and the history of techniques, giving students opportunities to learn the original hand-painted technique of Yuzen, rare among curriculums at Kyoto art colleges. Textiles artworks that transform a space as contemporary art also make use of these traditional techniques. With this base of history and tradition, In SEIKA’s textile course, students search for themes and means of expression that are uniquely yours. Artworks with new forms of expression connecting the past and the future are born here.

Four years in the Textiles Course

  • 1st Year

    Dyeing and weaving both start from drawing

    In the first year students learn the general foundational techniques of stencil dyeing, wax-resist dyeing, silkscreening, felt, and tapestry. By producing work, students master the various techniques, as well as learning the history and deepening their comprehensive understanding.

    Attention is also paid to the ability to draw, a foundation of creative expression. Students practice how to draw a range of subjects in sketching classes, which then prove useful when doing initial sketches for later work. And, by seeing how the things they drew then change when dyed and woven, it also serves as for a helpful way of learning the differences between different means of expression.

    In classes that teach the key printing technique of silkscreening, students make yukata with motifs of nature that they each drew. Silkscreen printing is a technique suitable for dyeing designs with fixed patterns, such as checks or stripes. By then developing individual design patterns with flowers, animals, self-portraits, and geometrical motifs, students acquire the foundations of sketching. Some students even wear the yukata they make to the Gion Festival!

    After completing their works, students go on to explain the concepts behind their designs to everyone and receive group feedback. This then refines students’ presentation skills, another major element of first-year studies.

    1st year
    1st Year Goals
    Studying all the foundational techniques of textiles. Developing draft sketching and presentation skills.
  • 2nd Year

    Learning the techniques of “Made in Kyoto”

    While polishing the techniques and creative skills learnt in the first year, along with increasing the scale of their work, students in second year learn traditional dyeing and weaving anew, as well as fiber art, which attempts to create spatial forms using textiles.

    Yuzen, Kyoto’s renowned traditional dyeing technique, continues to exist innovatively today. In classes, students learn not the contemporary technique but rather processes based on the hand-drawn Yuzen as it was in the Edo era. Resist starch is placed over the top of the lines of the draft to separate the dyes. Students make their own starch for the resist and undertake other intricate processes, omitting nothing in their quest to seek out the origins of the historical technique.

    There is a reason for this. Knowing how things come about means you can apply them. When you understand the universal forms of monozukuri, you can utilize it in your own work. In Kyoto no other university studies Yuzen like this. In pursuit of the textiles that connect the past and the present, and even the future, Yuzen will be your best guide.

    And departing from the traditional techniques, students also try their hand at fiber art, creating sculptural or spatial artworks that use threads or fibers. Through all the techniques added to their skill sets up till now, students further develop their knowledge of the quality of materials.

    2nd year
    2nd Year Goals
    Getting to grips with both the traditional techniques of Kyoto and pioneering fiber art. Acquiring a wide range of creative techniques.
  • 3rd Year

    One sheet of fabric can transform a place

    Based on the first two years of intensive foundational studies, this year now becomes a time for weaving your own creative world. As the warm-up to this, the first semester sees students considering their artworks and public-ness. Topics include decorating the campus or thinking of a work to be produced for the Setouchi International Art Festival. How would you harmonize your work with the space? What would be the significance of producing your work in that place? What message would you hope to convey to audiences? Creating work that is aware of this is vital. Students are involved with planning and executing an exhibition with all their peers, giving them know-how on presenting their art in public.

    The second semester gives students freedom to create what they want within their selected studio. With superb facilities, including eighteen looms, two large steamers, and places for texture dyeing, starch setting and washing, students receive direct instruction from faculty members who are themselves leading artists in the field.

    3rd year
    3rd Year Goals
    Planning your own free work and acquiring planning ability and creativity. Raising the level of perfection in your work through dialog.
  • 4th Year

    Textiles is full of potential

    Students now tackle their graduation projects, based in studios for their chosen techniques and aspiring to create work through new ideas that go beyond existing textile forms. In order to achieve this, there are multiple opportunities for students to give presentations about their work, from the planning stages right through to completion of the work. Going beyond the framework of the textile studio, students receive valuable advice from faculty members specializing in a wide range of areas, not only textiles, including past exhibitors at the Venice Biennale, interior designers, curators and more, which students can then utilize for their work.

    Using a hand-drawn Yuzen technique, one student made a three-meter sculptural artwork that expressed the patterns of a peacock’s feathers. Other students make tapestries and kimono using Yuzen techniques. In the same studio all manner of artworks emerge that produce utterly different impressions. Fibers may well be materials that are familiar to us, and yet they can also cause us to feel once again how truly protean and beautiful they are.

    4th year
    4th Year Goals
    Making presentations, training your skills in conceiving and planning, and having ideas that go beyond the existing creative forms.

Career paths after graduating from the Textiles Course

Textiles are connected to the basic human concepts of clothing and shelter. The knowledge, techniques and sense of color for textiles that students foster through their work on the course will serve them well not only in apparel but in a range of industries. Further, since they also understand how things come together, from traditional techniques right through to the latest technologies, they also have the abilities to apply things. Students can thus develop their knowledge of textile dyeing in all manner of industries, from stage design to jewelry manufacturing, and advertising agencies. The course cultivates designers who can create new ideas and products.

Career choices

  • Artist with a full command of textile techniques
  • Textile designer for interior fabrics
  • Utilizing your sense of color as a graphic designer
  • Joining a traditional dyeing or weaving studio

Other career options

  • Art educator
  • Fashion designer
  • Color coordinator
  • Film or television production staff
  • Art producer etc.

Textiles Course Faculty Members (in Japanese)